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Cameroon – Anglophone crisis: The city of Buea struggles to live without its lawyers, some of the accused are forced to defend themselves!

The proceedings of the hearings have been disrupted since the lawyers are on strike. The relatives of the accused speak of the sufferings of their own.

In its April 13, 2017 edition, the daily Mutations reports, the difficulty a defendant had in defending himself at his hearing at the Buea High Court in the Southwest Region on 12 April 2017. It turns out that in this region plagued by the anglophone crisis, the lawyers have deserted the Courts since the beginning of their strike. This Cameroonian who is being tried for robbery did not know what to do and what to say to defend himself. The cause being that there was no lawyer to defend him. “When it was his time to ask questions to the complainant, he was as if he was dumbfounded. He was almost speechless, in the absence of a lawyer to dictate to him the conduct to be held in this environment that he confronts for the first time, “says the daily.

The situation is the same for the Court of First Instance (CFI) or the Administrative Court or the Court of Appeal of the Southwest. According to the daily in the Courts, there are judges, prosecutors and clerks. But no shadow of a lawyer in the courtrooms. The newspaper reported, for example, that at the CFI there were less than a dozen detainees who had to go before the Prosecutor of the said court. “Handcuffed, they waited to pass one after another before the Prosecutor, without the assistance of a lawyer,” notes the paper. A close friend of an accused approached by the daily said “the detainees suffer a lot since lawyers are on strike. People do not know how to defend themselves. Because there is no lawyer to prove their innocence.

Mr Ngwa, the President of the Administrative Court of Buea, admits that the decried situation also penalizes them. Because of the absence of lawyers they are forced to make referrals. In a recent statement, the President of the Bar Association of Cameroon said that lawyers will resume service on May 2, 2017.

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